The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Word on Thanksgiving

In the month of November we celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Over the years those who oppose the God of our fathers have sought to change history so that Thanksgiving is viewed as a time where the pilgrims held a feast to thank the Indians of the land rather than the God of the universe. This is just one more attempt to remove God from the land. Were the pilgrims thankful for the friendship and help of their Indian friends? Yes indeed, but they knew Who had sent the Indians, God, and it was to Him that they came together to give thanks.

William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony, proclaimed the first day of Thanks in 1623 and did so with the following proclamation:

To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

In 1779 George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday. President Washington’s proclamation demonstrates the spiritual nature of this holiday and that it was a call to the citizens of this great land to give thanks to the One who had overseen them throughout the year. Washington’s proclamation stated:

Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!" Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

The United States is the most powerful nation in the world today and that power should not be attributed to its democratic roots as much as it should be credited to its Christian heritage. God has so “shed His grace on thee.” But our nation has been steadily cutting away its moorings since the early 1960s when prayer, the Bible and God were systematically removed by a handful of judges from the schools. We are in danger of being completely cut adrift as we battle for even the slightest mentions of God in our society (like the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance). Make no mistake about it, if we severe as a nation, our ties to Almighty God, we will relinquish His protection from our enemies and soon find ourselves in repeated 9/11 types of tragedies and a constant fear that will rob us of our freedoms and liberty. Our nation, as it takes a jackhammer to the Judeo-Christian foundations of our society will plummet morally into anarchy, avarice and antichristian actions that will bring God’s wrath.

The consideration of same-sex marriages, once unthinkable, is a clear indication of the depths to which this nation has plummeted. When the vast majority of the representatives of a particular party support same-sex marriage and homosexuality and lesbianism it shows that we as a nation are sick and sinful from the head of government on down. Homosexuality is being pushed on us from every media. Why is it that a group so small, has so much influence and is being allowed to push itself on the nation and demand they be not only tolerated, but accepted and given equal viability and standing with traditional Biblical family forms? It is because we as a nation are in the process of rejecting God (see Romans 1). If you look in history and observe empires, kingdoms, and nations in decline you will see a common characteristic of all of them, the rise in immorality, promiscuity, and particularly homosexuality. If (or should I say when) same-sex marriage is approved in our land, can the legalizing of incest, polygamy, pedophilia, and other debauched things conjured by reprobate minds be far behind?

This Thanksgiving many will be stuffed to capacity and lulled to sleep by full bellies (See Philippians 3:18-19). That physical condition is a picture of the spiritual condition too many of us are in. We are stuffed with the things of this world in thought, word, and deed and we have become Christian couch potatoes conked out on the couch while our drawers containing the precious jewels of our Christian heritage are being rifled through and ripped off by heretics and heritage robbers! We need to wake up and stop the pillaging of truth. We need to take a stand and stop the perverting of our heritage.

I wonder how President Washington and the founding fathers viewed Separation of Church and State when they were drawing up this proclamation of thanksgiving to God above. Their view of God's role in our national workings was obviously quite different than that held by many in our day. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a politician in the land today making such a proclamation. Our country has drifted far from its godly moorings. God has blessed this land so much, isn’t it time we act responsibly in a spirit of thanksgiving? Wouldn’t it be great to see our land healed of its child abuse (e.g. abortion, partial birth abortion, and abortion pills), immorality (e.g. pornography, adultery, homosexuality/lesbianism, and promiscuity), and antichristian attitude; of its sin? Progress has been made in some of these areas, but the enemy continues to fight tooth and nail against any godly and righteous advancement. We need to repent as a nation and as individual sinners. There is a way for us to get back on the right track with God. God promises to intervene if . . .

• 2 Chronicles 7:14 - “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

All is not lost, yet (Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:9-13). There is still time; as long as God’s gavel has not fallen, there is time. There is still time for a comeback, for a last minute drive to the goal of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-21). The comeback starts when we as individuals turn to God with prayerful, searching and thankful hearts and recognize how patient God has been with us as we’ve followed our flesh in so many ways.

We need to ask God to search us and show us where our paths are wicked ways (Psalm 139:23-24). Then we need to repent; to actually, by God’s grace and the power of the Spirit, “turn from their wicked ways” and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-24). We need to confess our sins and receive forgiveness and cleansing from God through faith in Christ (1 John 1:9). Then we need to walk in the light of His word and live in fellowship with Jesus (John 8:31-36; 1 John 1:7). This is all the beginning of warring against the forces of evil with spiritual weaponry and that is the only way to be victorious (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-18). Receive God’s blessed cleansing from sin and be filled with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Once we’ve invited Jesus into our hearts to clean house (Revelation 3:20), then we war on the floor on our knees in prayer. Then we can begin to pray for others and be used by God to minister to others in our families, friendships, neighborhoods and nation. Pray for our country and its leaders and for God to continue to be longsuffering with us. Pray for a conviction of sin to fall upon this land that will fuel a groundswell of repentance from top to bottom. Pray for a move of the Spirit that will win the lost to Christ in our families, friendships, workplaces, our neighborhoods, in our nation, in our land. Be thankful for God’s many blessings, for His patience with us this Thanksgiving. May we be thankful for our freedom, our land, and our families, His church, His word, His provision, for the Father, His only Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Be thankful that there is still time to get right with God!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't moved." Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough."

That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of
prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord," he said, "I have
labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?

The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are calloused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done.

"Now I, my friend, will move the rock."

At times when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to
decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong.................just P.U.S.H!
When the job gets you down.....................just P.U.S.H!
When people don't react the way you think they should....just P.U.S.H!
When your money is "gone" and the bills are due.........just P.U.S.H!
When people just don't understand you..................just P.U.S.H!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Handling the Sword - C.H. Spurgeon

"How are we to handle this sword of 'It is written'? First, with deepest reverence. Let every word that God has spoken be law and gospel to you. Never trifle with it; never try to evade its force or change its meaning. God speaks to you in this book as much as if he came to the top of Sinai and lifted up his voice with thunder.

I like to open the Bible and pray, 'Lord God, let the words leap off the page into my soul; make them vivid, powerful, and fresh to my heart.'"

Our Lord Himself felt the power of the Word. It was not so much the devil who felt the power of 'It is written" as Christ Himself. The manhood of Christ felt an awe of the Word of God, and so the Word became a power to Christ. To trifle with Scripture is to deprive yourself of its aid. Reverence it, and look up to God with devout gratitude for having given it to you.

--Charles Spurgeon, Spiritual Warfare in a Believer's Life (P.81)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Satan's Strategy - A.W. Tozer

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. --Ephesians 6:13

Now I do not think that Satan much cares to destroy us Christians physically. The soldier dead in battle who died performing some deed
of heroism is not a great loss to the army but may rather be an
object of pride to his country. On the other hand the soldier who
cannot or will not fight but runs away at the sound of the first
enemy gun is a shame to his family and a disgrace to his nation. So
a Christian who dies in the faith represents no irreparable loss to
the forces of righteousness on earth and certainly no victory for
the devil. But when whole regiments of professed believers are too
timid to fight and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an
astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a
blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ.

The devil's master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill
us physically (though there may be some special situations where
physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our power
to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The
average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. God knows.
He is a child wearing with considerable self-consciousness the
harness of the warrior; he is a sick eaglet that can never mount
up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey
and sits with a waxy smile trying to get what pleasure he can from
sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked by the way.

That Incredible Christian, p. 72.